Kickstart with Curious Minds shines a light on how creating employment opportunities for early career professionals across a local area can contribute meaningfully to youth voice priorities.

The Kickstart scheme was announced in July 2020 with the ambition of creating hundreds of thousands of jobs for 16 – 24 year olds who are at risk of long-term unemployment.

Following the initial buzz and excitement, we heard from SMEs and grassroots creative employers that they were struggling to get involved. The scheme was not fit for purpose for their business needs and ways of working, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. At the same time, we knew that youth voice was a strategic priority for most, if not all, of local cultural education partnerships we were working with.

A Curious Response

Curious Minds was proud to work with seven Creative Youth Voice Champions under the Kickstart scheme in 2022.

Employed directly by Curious Minds and deployed in pairs across four LCEP areas in the North West, the Creative Youth Voice Champions were tasked with delivering a project for their local area, taking a creative approach to engaging children and young people’s voices in creativity and cultural education.

Woven throughout the programme was high-quality training, led by industry professionals, to equip the Youth Voice Champions with the knowledge and skills needed to enter the cultural education workforce.  Silver Arts Award was embedded throughout, and they were supported to transition into further opportunities at the end of their six months.

Youth Voice Recommendations

Curious Minds has produced a set of recommentations for organisations and partnerships seeking to meaningfully embed youth voice in their work. These suggestions draw on everything the Creative Youth Voice Champions learnt from working with their LCEPs, the activities they delivered directly with children and young people, and their own experiences of where they live and work. They are important for working with any target group, as much as for working with children and young people.

Meet the Creative Youth Voice Champions

Name: Alan Calligan
LCEP: Bolton

Hey there, I’m Alan and I studied Music Production at Leeds Beckett University. I mainly play guitar but have a passion for learning other instruments and broadening my understanding of music. I have a YouTube channel in which I mostly upload myself playing video game soundtracks, combining my two main interests, all the while practising my arranging, playing, producing, and video editing skills.

Name: Alexandra Borg
LCEP: Bury

Hi, I’m Alexandra. Previously, I have completed multiple programmes and volunteer work including NCFE Level 1 Creative Media Course, Groundwork Prince’s Trust Programme, volunteered at Neilson Reeves Photography and 53TWO Studios. I am interested in pursuing an art related career and share a keen passion for the arts and education.

Name: El Clarke
LCEP: Salford & Trafford

My name is El and I recently graduated with a 2:1 BA (Honours) in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Salford. I’m a tarot reader, astrologer, and a creator of music. Connecting children and young people with the creative arts is something I am incredibly passionate about, and I feel blessed to be working in this role.

Name: Faisal Al Raisi
LCEP: Bolton

Hello there! I'm Faz. I was born and raised in Abu-Dhabi and moved to England in 2019. Currently, I'm working towards my level 3 in Youth Work and level 2 in Football Coaching. As I've spent the last 2 years doing sports youth work, I wanted to extend my knowledge and I am currently exploring my journey into creative arts.  In future, I hope to use my experiences in both fields to have an impact on young people.

Name: Kenji Hlavac
LCEP: Bury

My name is Kenji. I’m an Asian dancer and singer, brought up in Czech Republic and later moved to the UK. I have a love for languages and currently speak eight of them. I hope to pursue a career in performing arts.

Name: Riley Dunk
LCEP: Salford & Trafford

I'm an artist, performer, and voice actor. I have helped with the organization of shows for the Edinburgh Fringe along with the world's first travelling pride event in Cornwall. I am currently working on The Anthotaxy Anthology, a game series by Studio Entomology as the lead character designer and pixel artist.  I'm passionate about all types of art and I love to engage with new things and am always excited to learn! 

Name: Tim Fielden
LCEP: Pendle

I grew up in a small village on the edge of Lancashire named Earby. Having not lived near anywhere that gives kids the chance to unleash their creativity, being able to give young people the opportunities that I didn’t have is a huge honour. I enjoy writing stories and watching films, and my ultimate goal is to write scripts for animated shows and movies.

Name: Zia Khan
Kickstart Programme Assistant

As the Programme Assistant for Kickstart, Zia runs weekly group peer mentoring for the Creative Youth Voice Champions. These are an important opportunity to come together on a regular basis to share what they have been working on, to share any learning and challenges they are facing and to support one another on their Kickstart journey.